The future is here – but is that necessarily a good thing? A new artificial intelligence model, developed at Stanford University, can determine – with 91% accuracy – whether a man is gay or straight, based only on the man’s photos.

Young Man with a computer

The study, as The Guardian reports, was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Stanford University’s computer algorithm was given photos of men and women taken from an American dating site, and asked whether the depicted men and women were gay or straight.

Based on only one photo, the AI could correctly distinguish between gay and straight men 81% of the time. When shown five photos of each man, the software attributed sexuality correctly 91% of the time.

When the same photos were shown to human judges, they fared worse, though were still able to identify sexual orientation correctly with 61% of the men.

The research found that gay men and women tended to have “gender-atypical” features, expressions and “grooming styles”, essentially meaning gay men appeared more feminine and vice versa.

The data also identified certain trends, including that gay men had narrower jaws, longer noses and larger foreheads than straight men.

While these results are an impressive technological achievement, and also say something about the nature of being gay (the study did not address bisexual men and women) – it can have some troubling future ramifications, if used, for example, in countries where being gay is against the law.